My Musings

Series vs Standalone Books

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As a fantasy fan I mainly read series (it comes with the genre) but it must be wrote that I do enjoy my occasional dabble and dalliances into other genres and read and enjoy standalone books.

So, it got me to thinking, what are the pros and cons of both series and standalone reads??

And then, look at me being procreative and not lazy and instead of procrastinating and playing WWE 2K17 – gamer aswell as a reader, multi hobby procrastinator! πŸ™‚ I decided to make up some lists, listing both the pros and cons of both series and standalone books.

series-pros

series-cons

standalone-pro

standalone-cons

For me, I must say that I prefer series, there’s just something about the multi book journey that you take and the deep bond that you can develop with the characters.

What about you my fellow bookish bloggers??
Do you prefer Series?? Standalone??
And, have I missed any pros and cons on the lists you think should be on there??

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103 thoughts on “Series vs Standalone Books

  1. I love series because you get to spend more time with that world and these characters while with standalones, you get only that book and that is it.

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  2. I’m not keen on series, as I like a book to have a proper ending rather than leave me hanging. I do read a lot of crime novels though, which can have recurring characters that you get to know, but each story/crime will be wrapped up in the one book. You get the best of both then, as you can get to know the characters and their lives and see how they progress with each book but you’re not left wondering what is going to happen next.

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  3. This is hard for me. I LOVE reading fantasy series because I enjoy being sucked into everything. Getting to know the world, the characters, the intrigue– it’s so wonderful. But, I like to binge-read. So, that said, I more often than not will reach for a standalone novel. There’s nothing more painful than reading The Wheel of Time books 1-11, only to wait YEARS for the final book(s) to come out. My brain isn’t great at remember everything. I just waited for all three of Sanderson’s book to be published and re-read the entire series. It was a SLOG. #FantasyLoverProblems

    So… Uh… Undecided?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I personally really love The Wheel of Time. It’s obvious that Jordan got lost in his story late book 7 and book 8. But, things pick back up again in book 9. There are a lot of tropes and cliches, lots of descriptions (particularly of female clothing), and lots of prophetic bits. But I love the characters. So many unique people and lots of strong female characters. There is great character development throughout the series. I also couldn’t predict where the plot would go. But, I’m not as well-read as you are in fantasy. Honestly, it’s worth it to read Sanderon’s last three books. He ties the story up perfectly and there is barely a hitch in voice– the book sounds like Jordan and Sanderson at the same time. Blows my mind.

        So yes. I think you should read it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think you’re the first fantasy reader I have heard say that. You earn my respect for going against the grain like that. What about Sanderson doesn’t work for you? I wonder if you’ll feel differently about WoT just because he’s emulating Jordan’s writing…?

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      3. I’m not sure about Sanderson, I enjoyed the first Mistborn book but it wasn’t great and I didn’t really like his writing style, the ending was sort of self contained to and I just never felt the need or wanted to try and read another of his books.

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  4. Anyone who knows me well will know I struggle with finding things that I can actually read from start to finish. I think there is literally 5 authors that can pull me in and that’s it (one of which I met last week *sigh* if one day someone is as excited to meet me as I was to meet Garth Nix then I can say i’very truly made it as aneither author lol – anyways… I digress…)

    That being said for me it is series all the way whether reading or writing. I have attempted stand alone books and found that they simply aren’t emmer site enough to capture my attention (though it has a LOT A to do with he telling of the story too) series on the other hand I have (when hooked) devoured in very little time from book 1 to whatever is the final or latest book in the line.

    Similarly with writing – For King and Country was supposed to be a stand alone about Randall and MΓ²rag only. Then I found that I just had WAAAAAAAAY too much to say to have it as just one book.

    Yeah. I agree that long waits and authors becoming lazy are massive flaws of book series, though I have been lucky in that the 5 authors who I can read easily have so fare not gotten lazy in their storytelling.

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    1. Thanks for commenting.πŸ˜€

      Ah, meeting a favourite author sounds like a great experience!πŸ˜€

      That’s lucky with the authors not becoming lazy to, most of my favourite authors publish there books every year/year and a half and a new book by a favourite author is always something to look forward to.πŸ˜€ There’s only really GRRM and Rothfuss who’s series I like that drag their feet over book releases.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. Well Garth Nix is special to me because of Sabriel. I don’t even remember buying that book, or reading the beginning of it first time around. I was in a really bad place and I’m only really aware of finally gaining my footing again – all be it a very fragile footing – about a third of the way into the book. I honestly don’t know if I’d even be here if that book hadn’t found its way into my hands. So yeah… meeting him was a BIG thing for me.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Funny. I kept that to myself for YEARS and I just randomly admitted it on a public space. And weirdly I don’t feel weird about it. But yeah. Them fabled Aberdeen years were a killer… Moving on! Series all the way! πŸ˜„

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      3. Pretty much peas in a pod then. I will remember this when I am rich and famous (which will be never) and I am inhabiting my newly purchased island with other non social, social types like me πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ anyway I’ve hijacked this topic way too far from the start point so I shall say… oops sorry 😯 for that x

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      4. I rarely have time to post on my own! I’m actually being bad. I should be writing the last scene of book 4 of my series and filling the holes I noted so it can go to beta this weekend, but I’ve been chatting here instead haha! Saying that I suppose as what I am doing is writing a series… that was relevant… in a round about way :p

        I get stupid excited when people comment on my blog haha it’s ridiculous! But I’m still a blogging noob… so … πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Nah! what you write is interesting. And to me relevant as I am a writer and you are a reader. I think there is nothing more important a writer should concern themselves with (outside of the creating the story bit) than writing for readers. I think that’s why the traditional publishing industry is failing the reader – because their first concern is the pennies.

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  5. Agree with all the pros and cons..
    One more thing I would like to add is, if you are in that frame of mind where you don’t feel like investing a lot of time or you are apprehensive about starting with and sticking to a new series till the end, then starting with a completed series can be a bit overwhelming.. Instead, going with a series that is still in progress (which just one or two books released..) is easier.. Because you get a feeling that you have caught up and are “up to date” with everything along with the rest of the readers and you are just more involved in the “journey” or the shaping of the series with all the discussions, theories etc…

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  6. You hit the pros and cons of each perfectly! I feel the same about them all. I tend to read more series than stand-alone books, but every once in a while its nice to read a single book that has a simple beginning, middle, and end to it.

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  7. I totally agree, and I think I still prefer standalone or trilogies. The problem with no set ending is that authors do tend to drag on much more than if they plan to write a set of three, or just one sequel. Plus, don’t forget the fact that if you want to complete your collection, you’ll spend much more money on series than on standalone books!

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  8. I like series when an author really has a long story to tell. I hate it when they pad though and stretch things out. Which seems to be more often than not these days.

    There are times though that I really crave the return to mostly standalones, as it takes greater skill imo. I also like a start, middle and finish in one volume.

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  9. I think there is a time place and genre for a series as well as being twists on series, like in stand-alones within a series, for example crime with a hero (say James Bond or Miss Marple) or some romance series which follow friends or families with stand-alones being all connected.

    In today’s saturated book markets authors need to think about time lapses between publications of a series, because all too easily they might lose readers who don’t want to wait, with e-books everything is quicker, fading fast are the long waits for books like the next Harry Potter paperback of yesteryear.

    Book one of any series has to be a clear winner for readers to want to pick up book two and show me the book sales quantity charts for new series authors who are trying to establish themselves in the market place, selling book one is hard, selling books two and three can be even harder.

    At the end of the day it’s all a personal taste and down to how much you read. I’m a book work and like to devour books and then move on, so a series bogs me down unless I’m really into it. I also like a wide range of genres, never sticking with long binge reads of any one genre, so I’m in the stand alone camp today.

    Great post and one for some good conversation, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting.πŸ˜€

      Ah, liking a wide range of genres definitely makes it easier to like standalone books. I’m not a fast reader and can’t devour books but for me being a predominantly fantasy fan series are what I’m used to.

      Totally agree about the saturated market, there’s so many books that if you don’t like the first it’s so easy to just move onto and try something new.

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  10. I love series mostly for the characters, especially when you are really connected with them, they become addicting lol. I like standalone’s too, but sometimes I do get second book syndrome which just sucks! Great post, they are all such true pro’s and con’s for each!

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    1. Ah, second book syndrome sucks. That’s definitely a great thing about series though connecting with the characters and following them on their story be it a series set in a dark and desolate fantasy world telling an epic tale of revenge or a series of books with glistening abs on the covers.πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post Drew! I LOVE my Fantasy series unfortunately I’m not the most patient person when it comes to my books because my life at the moment is one of a working mom on the go. I only have patience for two tiny humans lol. I learned the hard way with Game Of Thrones & I still am kicking myself over it. My memory is terrible & I prefer to binge read my series to retain as much info as possible. Now, whenever someone recommends a new Fantasy series that 1st thing I do is open Goodreads to see how many books are out & the time in btwn each pub date. Our dear Ol’ friend George took 5 years to write each of the GOT novels -_- smh. I completely agree with all of your points especially the bond factor. I love that about series, you grow with characters & develop connections. I genuinely begin to care for them & I’ve noticed that these characters tend to stay with me longer. With everything being a series now, I find myself reaching to some comfort genres for standalones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.πŸ˜€

      Ah, patience definitely comes into play with series and you’re not alone with Game of Thrones, we all feel that one!πŸ˜‚

      The bond with characters is one of the best bits, it’s something I’m really big on in books, I need to care about the characters fate or hate the characters – hello Joffrey!πŸ˜‚ And if you do get around to reading Assassin’s Apprentice anytime then you’ll get this reference – hello Regal!πŸ˜‚

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  12. Ugh! I’m going to be the weird person who stands in the middle. Honestly it all depends on the mood I’m in when I pick up a book. My only issue with series is the waiting for the next book. In the mean time I get to reading other things (maybe another series), and by the time I get back to original series. It takes me a few chapters to remember where we left on the last book. Or, I have to go back for a quick re-read to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.

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  13. Fantastic post Drew! πŸ˜€ You definitely nailed the pros and cons! When I look at the physical books I own, about 85% of them are part of a series. I can appreciate a good stand-alone because of the reasons mentioned about, but if I really like it, I’m always secretly hoping for a sequel! πŸ˜€ (it usually gets one ;).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.πŸ˜€ Stand alones are great but for fantasy fans it’s mainly series as that’s what fantasy books are, series.πŸ˜‚

      A couple of my favourite books are stand alone to – though one of them is The Stand which is like the size of three books. πŸ˜‚

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  14. Nailed it Drew!!! Not that I am shocked. Number 2 under series cons.. *looking hard at effing GRRM*.. sigh. I think the only other big commplaint I have with series, is the financial investment hehe.. *looking at Discworld or Wheel of Time*. Somebody has probably already addressed this above, but my browser is being stupid.. missed update? Not sure.. up since 3 am.. lacking ability to look into it haha.

    I also wanted to mention that I love this format! These grey boxes you are using are rad πŸ™‚ Yeah I know, I said rad again.. sigh.

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  15. This was a really good post. Looking at my bookshelves I definitely like series more!. I love that in a series you get to hold onto your favorite characters even longer!! They might not always be your favorite by the end but you always hold out hope until the last page. However you are right series are a serious time commitment. Especially if the author decides to drag out what should be a trilogy into a 6 book series…

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  16. I’m not sure whether I prefer series or standalone, they can both be amazing! Although I do agree with the wait for new books in series can be too much sometimes. Especially if the author is really old (not to jinx it or anything), theres always the uncertainty that it’ll become too much for them. All very good points though!
    Fleur @ FranklyBooks just posted WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (1)

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  17. I absolutely love series ^^ for some reason I always seem to pick a first or third book from a series when I’m in a bookshop, so I’ve just accepted the tragic fact that I don’t read many stand alones. The only thing I hate about most series is the second book syndrome, and unfortunately most series suffer from that.
    That said, I do like stand alones! But only when it’s romance or the occasional historical fiction.

    Have you read The Malazan Book of the Fallen? Great series! Still need to buy the rest though :’) but then there’s time, money, and life getting in the way haha I also have the first part of The Wheel of Time lying around… So many books to read and so little time

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    1. Romance – shudders!πŸ˜‚

      I’ve got the first Wheel of Time book to read at some point. And, yes, I’ve read Malazan, what book are you upto? It’s my favourite fantasy series, some parts miss the mark and it’s slow in places with a few issues later on but there’s just so much to like about it.πŸ˜€

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  18. I have to agree with you. While I can totally get into a good standalone, I love the amazing development involved in series from the characters to the world to the storyline itself. I find myself drawn to that because I’m not usually ready to let go after a single book lol

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  19. I like both – for the reasons you’ve highlighted. I enjoy a good series but it’s nice to read some standalones in between. I notice your comments about Sanderson – have you tried is Stormlight Archives – I love The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance and admit that the Mistborn series was not my favourite of his – course you might equally dislike these and they are rather huge books!
    I think the biggest drawback for series is the wait in between. The Name of the Wind series being a very good example – you can’t hurry genius of course but it would be so nice to read that third book!
    Lynn πŸ˜€

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    1. No, I haven’t tried Stormlight Archives, someone I know who also didn’t enjoy Mistborn didn’t like Stormlight either and with the size of the books it put me off trying them, but maybe someday I’ll give one a go.πŸ˜€

      Ah, that’s true but let’s hope it is genius when Rothfuss finally releases book 3! It’s been so long since I read the previous 2 books!πŸ˜‚

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  20. It’s series for me too. When I love a world, I like to stay there as long as I can and series help me to do that. But I do agree that series are commitments and they take time and patience (GRRM) because who knows when the next book will be out.
    When I read standalone fantasy novels, I’m often left wanting more. I prefer standalones for the other genres I read.

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  21. I am always a bit leery of series because it can be difficult for authors to keep the pace and the more books you get, the more you risk a sense of deja-vu if there’s not enough novelty. But I’m always sad to leave characters from a standalone that I have grown to love a lot. I guess the key is to read both formats!

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  22. Excellent post, darling! There are definitely a lot of pros and cons to both series and standalone. I seem to read a lot of series, but since I started blogging, I’ve preferred to read more standalones because I like to have an ending and move on. But I also love reading a good series. The problem with series is the time and the potential for a lot of wasted time with a bad ending. That’s the worst when the end doesn’t live up to what you hoped.

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